If content is king, BuzzFeed is queen — of native ads.
It’s no secret that BuzzFeed does native ads better than most in the industry. But a few recent mishaps suggest that native advertising might not sell for brands.
In case you missed it, here’s a recap of what’s going on with BuzzFeed:
A recent internal review of the site’s practices revealed that it deleted 1,112 posts for reasons ranging from technical errors to copyright issues. But the controversy surrounds the three posts deleted because of “advertiser complaints.”
The posts in question criticized products or ads produced by Microsoft Corp., PepsiCo, and AXE (a product of Unilever, which is one of BuzzFeed’s largest advertisers). To make matters worse, the internal report was released nearly a week after BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief Ben Smith asked editors to delete two other posts critical of Dove (also a product of Unilever) and Monopoly (a product of Hasbro Inc., which is another mammoth BuzzFeed advertiser).
Sounds like a nightmare, right?
The BuzzFeed situation is a prime example of the harmful effects of pushing out promotional, poor-quality content. In the end, this approach will only mar a brand’s image.
Brands looking to establish themselves as authoritative figures in their industries need to practice honest, transparent communication. The best way to do this is through educational content.
Here are three types of educational content that readers (and editors) crave:
Don't confuse thought leadership with native advertising or branded content. According to Demand Metric, marketing with thought leadership content generates three times as many leads and costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing methods. And it starts with showcasing an individual’s expertise solely to benefit readers.
When done effectively, thought leadership content boosts your company’s credibility and provides readers with actionable takeaways they can implement in their own lives. Brands can leverage content to establish thought leadership and build trust with readers.
Every piece of content you produce should be created with a goal in mind. Some of Influence & Co.’s content goals include building brand awareness and overcoming customer pain points. For example, we recently published the article “5 Leaders Share the Unusual Ways They Generate Ideas for Content” in an effort to combat a common pain point we hear: generating original content. The goal of this article was to inspire readers to think differently when creating content and hopefully spark an innovative new idea.
This is probably the most common type of educational content. Resources can be whitepapers, e-books, templates, etc. The purpose of these resources is to teach readers about far-reaching industry topics and hopefully make their lives easier. Our customizable Editorial Calendar & Content Promotion Template, for instance, was created to help marketers and content managers plan their own editorial and distribution efforts.
By providing free resources, you show prospects that you care about their needs and want to help them achieve their goals — and generate leads in the process.
Educational content is all about showcasing your brand’s authentic perspective. By creating informative content, companies can turn themselves into resources for their audiences and promote brand trust, loyalty, and top-of-mind awareness.
All brands, even BuzzFeed, need a content marketing reminder every now and again. When you follow the road to producing bad, promotional content, you risk:
When you’re walking the fine line of native advertising, educational content is always the way to go. BuzzFeed’s slip-up is a good reminder for marketers to stay away from the low-quality content vortex. After all, once you get sucked in, your audience won’t be there to help you out.